Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors in Glial Cells

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Abstract

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) and exerts its actions via a number of ionotropic glutamate receptors/channels and metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors. In addition to being expressed in neurons, glutamate receptors are expressed in different types of glial cells including astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia. Astrocytes are now recognized as dynamic signaling elements actively integrating neuronal inputs. Synaptic activity can evoke calcium signals in astrocytes, resulting in the release of gliotransmitters, such as glutamate, ATP, and D-serine, which in turn modulate neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. In addition, astrocytes, and microglia may play an important role in pathology such as brain trauma and neurodegeneration, limiting or amplifying the pathologic process leading to neuronal death. The present review will focus on recent advances on the role of mGlu receptors expressed in glial cells under physiologic and pathologic conditions.

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